Run for your life


Santino lives in a small village near Palermo. His father has many secrets, and he often takes Santino with him when he meets certain friends, but he never lets him get off the car while talking to them… Meanwhile, Lucio lives in Livorno with his mum and little sister. His dad works in Venezuela, but why doesn’t he ever write or call? There are so many things Santino doesn’t understand, while Lucio understands too many things for a boy of his age. What do these two children have in common when they are apparently so different from each other, and also from the other children of their age?


This book won the prestigious Andersen Award in 2011, and it has been translated into several languages. Inspired by actual events, this novel is very different from other works by Gandolfi, which usually are poetic and full of magic. In this case, we have a mafia story that also deals with the theme of death, since it begins with the murder of the boy’s father and grandfather, and with the attempted murder of the protagonist himself. Nevertheless, the book is not a well-packaged news report, but a proper novel which is refined from the narrative and stylistic point of view. Worthy of mention are the two main characters, who are portrayed in a credible and deep way, and who leave the readers breathless throughout the novel: the judge who persuades Santino/Lucio to denounce his father’s murderers, and who then saves him from danger. And of course the little protagonist. At the beginning of the novel, he is a child like many others, shy and fearful, but we watch him growing up and maturing, as he finds the courage to rebel against the mafia and denounce it, taking his life and that of his family into his own hands. Perhaps not a real hero who can solve all problems, but a young boy who understands the value of law and legality, and who refuses to comply with the silence and servility of the mafia culture.

Edited by: Centro MeTRa (Italy)

Author(s): Gandolfi, Silvana

Translator(s): Schwartz, Lynne Sharon

Publisher: Restless Books

City: New York

Year: 2018

Pages: 288

ISBN: 9781632061652

Age Range: 6 - 10

Language: EN

Original Language: IT

Keywords: Male characters, Positive role model, Relationships, Violence

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